Jump to content
AlexKenivel

Phantom Power?

Recommended Posts

Ive read it several times, please correct me if im wrong or missing something here, running your Helix via XLR to a mixer with that mixers' phantom power ON, creates an undesirable sound. I'm sitting at home with my Helix, running an XLR cable from the mono out to my little Behringer Xenyx one channel mixer with phantom power and I'm hearing no change in sound at all.

 

It has to be me, right?? Perhaps the mixer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe in this particular case it isn't a problem, but don't tempt fate. Don't do this. You'll break something and it'll be your fault...

 

We don't want that...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't want to have bought this di box for no reason. I guess since it came from an amazon gift card, it wouldn't be such a bad thing keep around

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't want to have bought this di box for no reason. I guess since it came from an amazon gift card, it wouldn't be such a bad thing keep around

 

There's nothing wrong with having an extra DI box.  I carry one around with me all the time and you'd be surprised how often someone needs it.  I used to use it on every gig just to be safe in case phantom power was enabled on the mixer, but I replaced it with a phantom power blocker.  Much smaller and a LOT more convenient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's nothing wrong with having an extra DI box.  I carry one around with me all the time and you'd be surprised how often someone needs it.  I used to use it on every gig just to be safe in case phantom power was enabled on the mixer, but I replaced it with a phantom power blocker.  Much smaller and a LOT more convenient.

I've been looking to get an answer to this question for some time:

Does a DI box block phantom power coming from the mixing table to the Helix?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DD, what are you using for a phantom blocker?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't want to have bought this di box for no reason. I guess since it came from an amazon gift card, it wouldn't be such a bad thing keep around

 

Every serious musician needs to have at least one DI box in their bag.

I've been looking to get an answer to this question for some time:

Does a DI box block phantom power coming from the mixing table to the Helix?

Yes, but that's not all. In many cases, the signal coming from an XLR output on a device like Helix is not what the FoH guy needs, wants or is used to. Not just Helix, other gear, too. If you use a 1/4" to DI, the sound is going to be the same (really... I compared... it is), and there are impedance and level mismatch issues that simply go away in every case but the occasional very gross incompetence at the sound board.

I never connect to the house in any manner besides DI. Ever. Been around long enough to learn that lesson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Every serious musician needs to have at least one DI box in their bag.

 

Pete, you crack me up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pete, you crack me up

 

 

I don't know why. I've been in and around pro musicians for a pretty long time. They always have one with them, even guys who don't need them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've been IN pro musicians for a pretty long time? No wonder you need a Direct Injection box :D

 

I don't think you see your potential as a stand up comic ;)

 

But in all seriousness, I've almost never seen an electric guitarist carry one, let alone two DI boxes, and both I and my father have been "in the game" a while. Even as a bass player for years and years he's never needed one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never had an issue with the Helix's XLR output signal and have never had the need for a DI box when using it. If anything, the Helix's output when set to "Line" might be a tad too hot and "Mic" setting a little too low... maybe. I have not actually used the "Mic" setting because I found the drop in output disconcerting.

 

As for phantom power, it's supposed to be invisible to devices that don't need it - like the Helix... if, and here's where the variable is, if the phantom power circuit is designed properly. It should also be said that devices that don't need phantom power, like the Helix, are supposed be designed to ignore it. Yes, turn it off before you plug it unplug but that should be it. The only thing I wouldn't take a chance on with regard to phantom power are vintage ribbon mics. Some modern ribbon mics need phantom power if the have a built-in preamp to boost the output.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've been IN pro musicians for a pretty long time? No wonder you need a Direct Injection box :D

 

 

HA! Yup, not what I meant to say. That's hilarious...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...It should also be said that devices that don't need phantom power, like the Helix, are supposed be designed to ignore it. Yes, turn it off before you plug it unplug but that should be it...

 

Okay, but... Line 6 is clearly on record that you should NOT turn phantom on when connecting Helix... I'd listen to them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, but... Line 6 is clearly on record that you should NOT turn phantom on when connecting Helix... I'd listen to them.

Then they ought to explain why they designed the Helix that way. What advantage does it give the Helix? I seriously doubt that that design offers any signal quality advantages. Maybe it's just a way for Line 6 to cover their butts if you connect it to a poorly designed mixer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then they ought to explain why they designed the Helix that way. What advantage does it give the Helix? I seriously doubt that that design offers any signal quality advantages. Maybe it's just a way for Line 6 to cover their butts if you connect it to a poorly designed mixer.

 

 

It has nothing to do with the design of the mixer. For one reason or another (does it really matter what it is?) they designed the XLR outs to be incompatible with Phantom Power.

 

Pretty easy to deal with one way or the other. I don't see why they need to explain why...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too, and DIs aren't bad to have along, but sending 1/4" to stage and XLR to FOH is a nice approach. Seems like a phantom blocker for the XLR side would be a better idea. More expensive though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has nothing to do with the design of the mixer. For one reason or another (does it really matter what it is?) they designed the XLR outs to be incompatible with Phantom Power.

 

Pretty easy to deal with one way or the other. I don't see why they need to explain why...

Sorry, but that is ridiculous. And yes, it does matter. Why give us XLR outs if they're just going to hamstring it by not making it compatible with phantom power? Why force users to have to pack around yet another box when there's supposed to be already one in the Helix. Most other truly "Professional level" devices would not have any issues with something as commonplace and ubiquitous as phantom power. Are they there just as a marketing ploy just so they could say, "Hey, our device has XLR outputs!"

That, I say again is ridiculous. If you're going to use a standardized connector, you should at least adhere to the standards that apply to that connector - especially if you're going to put that connector in a supposedly "Professional" product that you're gonna sell. Obviously, vintage professional ribbon mics would be exempt to this but most certainly not the Helix.

 

I love my Helix but I absolutely will not make any excuses for its shortcomings.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too, and DIs aren't bad to have along, but sending 1/4" to stage and XLR to FOH is a nice approach. Seems like a phantom blocker for the XLR side would be a better idea. More expensive though.

Don't need a phantom blocker if you reverse this. Test it yourself. 1/4" to DI sounds the same as XLR out. The way I use Helix live is 1/4" to DI to house and XLR to my on-stage monitor. My big volume control controls only the on-stage monitor signal. It works fantastically.

Sorry, but that is ridiculous. Why give us XLR outs if they're just going to hamstring it by not making it compatible with phantom power? Why force users to have to pack around yet another box when there's supposed to be already one in the Helix. Most other truly "Professional level" devices would not have any issues with something as commonplace and ubiquitous as phantom power. Are they there just as a marketing ploy just so they could say, "Hey, our device has XLR outputs!"
That, I say again is ridiculous. If you're going to use a standardized connector, you should at least adhere to the standards that apply to that connector - especially if you're going to put that connector in a supposedly "Professional" product that you're gonna sell. Obviously, vintage professional ribbon mics would be exempt to this but most certainly not the Helix.

I love my Helix but I absolutely will not make any excuses for its shortcomings.

I have experienced other pro-level devices with XLR that don't get along with phantom power.

IMHO, DI is a more reliable signal anyway, so I've been doing it that way for years.

Whether it's a shortcoming or not is immaterial. It's the way it is. You live with it or you don't.

One more thing... the XLR outs are a great Studio innovation in any case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have experienced other pro-level devices with XLR that don't get along with phantom power.

 

IMHO, DI is a more reliable signal anyway, so I've been doing it that way.

I have had the opposite experience. Every pro level box I've ever own and even some not so pro level units (Fender Mustang Floor) has never had any issues with phantom power. The only issues I've had with built in DIs have been with ground loops which are for the most part are relatively easy to fix with a ground lift switch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the opposite experience. Every pro level box I've ever own and even some not so pro level units (Fender Mustang Floor) has never had any issues with phantom power. The only issues I've had with built in DIs have been with ground loops which are for the most part are relatively easy to fix with a ground lift switch.

 

 

back in the day when a sampler was a piece of hardware and some synth modules were just appearing with XLR outs on them, there were some issues, so that's what I'm used to.

 

Do I agree that it should have been designed so that phantom power doesn't matter? Yes.

 

Do I think it's an issue? Nope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm prabably going for the ART DTI.
It's very versatile and also protects the Helix from damage if you connect to a desk where the phantom is already turned on.
Apparently that can damage things.The DTI has a transformer isolator which protects from that kind of thing.

On the other hand I might follow PerterHamm's idea of reversing things.
I'm doing it the way I am because I use the Helix for a few effects on my voicemice and it seemed logical to feed the microphone signal to the desk throuhg XLR. I guess I could also use 1/4" out and use DI. Then I would use XLR out to my Firehawk 1500.

What do you think would be best?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've been IN pro musicians for a pretty long time? No wonder you need a Direct Injection box :D

 

I don't think you see your potential as a stand up comic ;)

 

But in all seriousness, I've almost never seen an electric guitarist carry one, let alone two DI boxes, and both I and my father have been "in the game" a while. Even as a bass player for years and years he's never needed one

 

I can't remember when I started carrying a DI box with me, but it's been over a decade I'm sure.  It's not that I've used it that much anymore, but I can't count the number of times I've loaned it to a harmonica player that shows up with a harmonica mic that only has a 1/4" plug or to an acoustic guitar player that didn't bring an acoustic guitar amp and needs to go through the FOH.   Or even to a sound crew that needs an extra one for something.  Just an inexpensive handy thing to have on hand. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I ran into one other one I can't recall. Both are not *that* cheap, more than an inexpensive but reasonable DI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't want to have bought this di box for no reason. I guess since it came from an amazon gift card, it wouldn't be such a bad thing keep around

I have 2 direct boxes one for the Helix and one as a backup for the Helix. Hmm that was redundant ...  I guess I could have said yes!  B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the Helix plugged into phantom power and what it did there was the level was made lower. It's my understanding it won't hurt the Helix but it does compromise the XLR's level. So if your going direct and the sound guy says your output is too low, ask him if the phantom power is on. That's exactly what happened to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always carry several DI's, both passive and active - I NEVER assume that some random sound guy is going to know more than I do, or be as prepared.  Basically I carry all my own power and cabling - if the house has their s*&t together, great - if not, I've got it covered.  Once and once only I've experienced the low-level noise from Helix being phantomed, it was on a board with grouped phantom, a quick reassign took care of it.

 

I have some Behringer powered cabs that I typically would use their XLR pass throughs to send to the board - found out they didn't like phantom, and labeled them accordingly.

 

1/4" to my stage FRFR's, XLR to the board...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never saw any mixer without an on/off switch for the phantom power. If you plug a condenser microphone you activate it otherwise the phantom power should be off. So you can plug an helix using xlr straight into any xlr port. just d'ont acivate the +48v. Same thing for most instrument or for a dynamic microphone. http://www.dawsons.co.uk/blog/what-is-phantom-power

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never saw any mixer without an on/off switch for the phantom power. If you plug a condenser microphone you activate it otherwise the phantom power should be off. So you can plug an helix using xlr straight into any xlr port. just d'ont acivate the +48v. Same thing for most instrument or for a dynamic microphone. http://www.dawsons.co.uk/blog/what-is-phantom-power

 

 

The problem is that some mixers (like my teeny little ancient mackie at home) only have phantom on and off for all the XLR inputs, which means you can't turn it off for just one channel.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or for groups of 4 or 8 channels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2017 at 1:14 PM, hideout said:

Sorry, but that is ridiculous. And yes, it does matter. Why give us XLR outs if they're just going to hamstring it by not making it compatible with phantom power? Why force users to have to pack around yet another box when there's supposed to be already one in the Helix. Most other truly "Professional level" devices would not have any issues with something as commonplace and ubiquitous as phantom power. Are they there just as a marketing ploy just so they could say, "Hey, our device has XLR outputs!"

That, I say again is ridiculous. If you're going to use a standardized connector, you should at least adhere to the standards that apply to that connector - especially if you're going to put that connector in a supposedly "Professional" product that you're gonna sell. Obviously, vintage professional ribbon mics would be exempt to this but most certainly not the Helix.

 

I love my Helix but I absolutely will not make any excuses for its shortcomings.

 

I have to say I agree - one of the selling points for me was that the Helix has so many I/O's that I wouldn't have to be going down the rabbit hole chasing the extra gear it would take after purchasing this "all-in-one" effects machine. I also agree that I love this Helix beast but I didn't think I would have to buy extra gear to "protect" it from other commonly used gear.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/27/2017 at 11:23 AM, PeterHamm said:

 

 

The problem is that some mixers (like my teeny little ancient mackie at home) only have phantom on and off for all the XLR inputs, which means you can't turn it off for just one channel.

 

...and if there is an accidental Phantom power activation (which isn't that unlikely) or not so accidental power activation by the sound guy (which is highly likely) you are boned. There goes your warranty or another $100-$300 for the gear required to protect the Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, es345tds said:

 

...and if there is an accidental Phantom power activation (which isn't that unlikely) or not so accidental power activation by the sound guy (which is highly likely) you are boned. There goes your warranty or another $100-$300 for the gear required to protect the Helix.

1. Phantom power will not damage Helix, just make it sound bad while it's on.

2. If you want to be sure that someone doesn't turn it on by accident, just do what I do. Use the XLR outs for your on-stage monitor or in the studio, and use the 1/4" outputs to a DI to XLR for the house. Problem solved in the best possible way (you will sound just as good).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize that there are other options _ I will experiment with the 1/4" outs and "loop" sends to the mixer_ I just didn't realize until recently that the XLR outs could be a problem with mixer XLR inputs and the related phantom power. I got the idea that the statement in the OM ---  "IMPORTANT! Never connect the Helix device's XLR outputs to a device whose XLR inputs have 48V phantom power enabled!" I have seen a few comments here stating that the phantom power will not damage the Helix but that warning in the manual looks like the classic CYA protection for Line 6 when it comes to a warranty issue. Like I said, there goes another few hundred dollars if I find it necessary to use the XLR outs to the mixing board. I guess that horse is long dead now and I clearly have more to learn so I'll sign off. Thanks for the response. TW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, es345tds said:

... but that warning in the manual looks like the classic CYA protection for Line 6 when it comes to a warranty issue...

 

Nope. It's not. Phantom can't damage Helix. Line 6 is on record as saying that. It just will sound like crap and they care about your tone.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what you are saying is that if it is worth the extra expense for an isolator like the Radial Twin-Iso or something like it then the XLR outputs could actually be run into the XLR ins at the mixer. The main reason I have pursued this idea is that I want to experiment with the stereo and dual amp set ups and having the extra stereo output options would be handy. Since I only have one powered pa speaker I'm thinking of incorporating various amps that I have for W/D/W scenarios. Time to see what works I guess. Like I said I'm just getting into this and there are probably options I haven't thought of which is why I went with the Helix in the first place. Thanks for your thoughts. TW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, es345tds said:

So what you are saying is that if it is worth the extra expense for an isolator like the Radial Twin-Iso or something like it then the XLR outputs could actually be run into the XLR ins at the mixer. The main reason I have pursued this idea is that I want to experiment with the stereo and dual amp set ups and having the extra stereo output options would be handy. Since I only have one powered pa speaker I'm thinking of incorporating various amps that I have for W/D/W scenarios. Time to see what works I guess. Like I said I'm just getting into this and there are probably options I haven't thought of which is why I went with the Helix in the first place. Thanks for your thoughts. TW

imho, it is usually worth spending a lot of money on, since using the 1/4" outs to a DI...
1. sounds just as good

2. solves all phantom issues

3. Solves every level issue I've ever encountered

4. solves any impedance issue I've ever encountered

5. makes it real handy to solve ground issues

6. gives any sound person a signal they can work with.

 

So... I use the XLR for anything but front of house.

You want to send more than 2 signals to the board, THEN it might be worth having, but for me, it isn't.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/24/2017 at 1:59 PM, AlexKenivel said:

Ive read it several times, please correct me if im wrong or missing something here, running your Helix via XLR to a mixer with that mixers' phantom power ON, creates an undesirable sound. I'm sitting at home with my Helix, running an XLR cable from the mono out to my little Behringer Xenyx one channel mixer with phantom power and I'm hearing no change in sound at all.

 

It has to be me, right?? Perhaps the mixer?

 

On 6/24/2017 at 3:34 PM, PeterHamm said:

Maybe in this particular case it isn't a problem, but don't tempt fate. Don't do this. You'll break something and it'll be your fault...

 

We don't want that...

 

On 4/10/2019 at 6:02 PM, PeterHamm said:

1. Phantom power will not damage Helix, just make it sound bad while it's on.

...

 

 

Some discussions are just so nostalgic, but in a bad way, like that time Uncle Fred got Legionnaires' from the local Chipotle . Pete, you are simultaneously warning not to tempt fate "you'll break something" while later asserting that the "phantom power will not damage Helix".  While those two statements are in direct opposition to each other I get it. I also don't tempt fate and pushing phantom power through any circuit including any mic not designed for it is not the best practice. Many devices deal with it transparently however. It would be nice if Line6 device users did not have to worry about it, especially in future devices. People seem to still be warning about it with the LT and Stomp so not sure why it wasn't changed in the devices that followed the Helix. The issue was well documented by then. I would be interested to know what exactly in the Helix design creates this problem. At least according to amsdenj it appears not to be an issue with the output from the Powercab which gives Powercab owners a way to easily address the problem.

 

The workaround using DI(s) still chafes me as direct from XLR outputs to the PA is the gold standard and at least theoretically the best way to go. Any solution that requires additional cabling, impedance changes, jacks, and boxes to get there is in my mind less than ideal. Luckily the mixers(per channel phantom) and stage setups(no mics requiring phantom) I overwhelmingly encounter allow me to use my XLR outputs with no issue. Just think Line6 should stop releasing devices with this issue or alternately explain why their design makes it impossible/difficult to fix but offers an advantage that makes the compromise worthwhile.  I always find it easier to comprehend issues when someone tech"splains" the reason to me.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

Just think Line6 should stop releasing devices with this issue or alternately explain why their design makes it impossible/difficult to fix but offers an advantage that makes the compromise worthwhile.  I always find it easier to comprehend issues when someone tech"splains" the reason to me.

 

The technical reason that I've been given for the XLR outs not liking phantom power is the anti-pop circuitry on those outputs.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...